Interview with Worldcon 76 Artist Guest of Honor, John Picacio

John Picacio at the Opening Ceremonies for Worldcon 76 (Copyright 2018 Richard Canfield)

John Picacio at the Opening Ceremonies for Worldcon 76 (Copyright 2018 Richard Canfield)

Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up, and where do you live now? Where can we find you on social media?

I'm John Picacio. Live and work in San Antonio, TX. Find me on Twitter at @JohnPicacio and Instagram at @johnpicacio.

What kind of creative work do you do?

Professional book cover and product artist for 22 years in the science fiction, fantasy and horror publishing industry. I've been doing it full-time for the past 17 years.

Had you ever been to a WorldCon before?

I think Worldcon 76 was my 16th.

You created this whole thing. What are your post-Worldcon thoughts?

Out of 50 Recipients selected for The Mexicanx Initiative, 42 of them attended Worldcon 76. Three sat out for political protest and the other five had schedule conflicts. Of those 42, I would say almost every single one of them brought every bit of themselves. It was a formidable coalition of talent, designed to make a major impact on that convention. It did just that. It was historic. I think we will look back on this moment as the dawn of many major Mexicanx careers and presences in the American and UK publishing markets. I didn't just pick these people to show up for a convention weekend. I picked them to dominate this field and influence a new wave of creators and audience for generations to come.

Tell us about one highlight moment of your WorldCon experience.

Hands down, I would say it was all of us linking up in the 'Xup' formation at Opening Ceremonies, in support of our children being locked in cages, separated from their families at the borders. Our people are being politically targeted and that demonstration was a reminder that the nightmare continues every day and must be stopped. Something happened to us on that stage, under those lights, with all those eyes staring back. Most of us on that stage were strangers who had only met moments before. There were Americans and Mexicans, with many traveling thousands of miles to be there, and yet when we walked down, we were bonded in a way that even I could not have predicted. We became a family, and I would say there's a nucleus of 20 to 25 of us that have become closer and closer as Worldcon becomes a more distant memory. It's a kinship that transcends borders and language, and it's for real.

Full stage of Mexicanx Initiative members Xing up during the opening ceremonies at Worldcon 76 (Sent by John Picacio; photo by Debi Chowdhury)

Full stage of Mexicanx Initiative members Xing up during the opening ceremonies at Worldcon 76 (Sent by John Picacio; photo by Debi Chowdhury)

The best thing is that this nucleus is loaded with world-changing talent, and we're here to push each other to do just that. We're not a movement. We're not a club. But we are a family, with all of its quirks and dysfunctions, and hopefully if we do what we're supposed to do, we might be the beginning of a revolution. We shall see. We've got a long road ahead and a lot of work to do.

Worldcon 76 banner about the Artist Guest of Honor, John Picacio (Photo by Alberto Chimal)

Worldcon 76 banner about the Artist Guest of Honor, John Picacio (Photo by Alberto Chimal)

Recommend any or all of the following: a song, a written work, a piece of visual art, and a movie. Tell us why you love them!

Miles Davis' album Kind of Blue — I know that's random, but I'm working on the new Loteria art for "La Musica" and I'm trying to translate that album's simplicity and modality into an iconic Mexicanx visual. Santana's very first album is also in heavy rotation, while I'm working on this one.

What was the funniest thing that happened during your trip?

I was on a mission at this convention. There was a lot at stake. I don't know if there was any funny on my end. I would say it was one of the greatest experiences of my life though. No doubt about that.

Where should new people to start familiarizing themselves with your work?

  1. My website: www.johnpicacio.com

  2. My blog: http://johnpicacio.com/onthefront/

  3. Lone Boy (my publishing imprint where I produce my Loteria Grande Cards and Posters): www.lone-boy.com

Pablo Defendini